College Art Association Annual Conference
15-18 February 2023 | New York, NY USA
Contending with Feminist Methods: Posthumous Histories and Archival Ethics
(with sponsorship by the Committee on Women in the Arts)
Many feminist researchers understand their work as a caring for the archive: highlighting gaps in narratives, addressing intersectional marginalization, and expanding fields like art history. Political questions of identity, intentionality, biography, and archival ethics are vital to crafting scholarship that upholds feminist methodologies.
This panel focuses on posthumously researched histories of women and queer artists, especially those whose deaths relate to gender-based violence. Writing these histories involves the extent to which researchers read artists’ deaths, among other biographical details, into the artwork. Art historians like Griselda Pollock have argued against the trap of biographical overreading and claim such features limit scholarly interpretations. However, keeping biography separate from work and judgment often perpetuates implicit forms of homophobia, whitewashing, and silencing gender-based violence, as evidenced by artists such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Ana Mendieta.
To investigate this dynamic further, we ask: How do we employ ethical feminist approaches to the archive? To what extent do we ignore artists’ traumatic histories, especially when the ways they navigated the world inform their work? And overall, how might we treat biography as a means for historicizing power rather than an essentialist trap through which we locate intention?
In addition to projects invested in these questions, we invite papers contending with the politics of archival access. How has engagement with a collection revealed challenges and/or necessary revisions to feminist archival approaches? Does your research suggest alternative ways to consider access and ethical handling of both the literal and interpretive historical materials?
- Name, Affiliation, Email, & CAA Member ID #
- Confirm in-person participation (NYC, 15-18 February 2023)
- 2pg abridged CV
- Presentation Title & Abstract (250 words max.)